So, laden with treasure, our heroes head back to town. It’s still snowing, which is a litle disturbing for mid summer, and there’s tales of bandits smuggling children to worry about.
They head to see Curuvar in the Green Tankard tavern. He’s pleased to see, and that they’ve brought back the Ogre Skull. He goes on to explain that the Ogre was actually an Ogre Mage about a century or so before, and he’s keen to destroy the two items just to ensure that there’s no way that nefarious magic could bring him back. Cythor offers to join him for the disenchanting ritual, just to rest his mind that Curuvar isn’t up to anything.
“Before we hand over the items,” begins Erithan, “there is the small matter of unavoidable expenses. Wear and tear on crossbow bolts, that sort of thing.” 300 gold pieces for the party and a magic Orb for Cythor seem agreeable, and the two wizards disenchant and destory the Ogre skull and horn.
Curuvar presses the party for help investigating the snow. “How can we do anything about the weather?” asks Erithan, “blow hard into the wind?”.
“By Mystra’s lost spell no” explains Curuvar. “There is a tower in the Dire Wood, that I’ve got some suspicions about. I’d like you to go up there and investigate. Draigdurroch was a dwarven warlock who set himself up there to perform some research into eldritch pacts or some such. No one’s heard anything of him for 30 years or so. Last I heard was the tower itself was encased in magical ice – the tower was encased, but not the area around it. I’ve detected a large magical aura eminating from somewhere towards Dire Wood – it’s too much of a coincidence. The tower must be connected. Even if it isn’t you could perhaps find a clue in the warlock’s research. Otherwise the villagers might be harvesting snow ”
“The town could assemble 600 gold pieces in total, and I’ll personally fund you another hundred if you bring me his ritual books and the same for his research notes.”
Erithan is keen to investigate the bandits ””hho would I rather annoy – some local thief or someone who can control the weather. If we need backup, I’d like to be owed a favour”, but the final decision is to investigate the weather. After some shopping – after all Radnelac needs some new plate armour.
During the general reprovisioning, the owner of the general store, a woman called Calla asks for help. She’s being pestered for some protection money by a tiefling called Narrows who works for the Lady of Shadows. Narrows threatens burning down shop might happen unless she’s protected by the Lady . “Lucky thing there’s all this snow to put the fire out, eh?” quips Erithan.
The party decide to wait until Narrows turns up, and then have a “chat”. Eventually he turns up to speak with Calla. “I see you have customers Calla, I’ll come back later.”
“Don’t let us drive you away. We might be here for a while yet” says Erithan. “In fact, perhaps we could all discuss your business together”
“MY business is my business, and you’d be wise to keep out of it” says Narrows.
“Ooops, too late. Already in it” smiles the drow. “So tell us about the lady of Shadows. Come now, famous local personage. You must know loads about her.”
“You don’t cross her twice. I don’t intend to start now.” scowls Narrows.
“Unlucky mate!!!” laughs Radnelac. “You know how these things go – someone will have seen you talking to us – we’ll leave the rest to ur imagination.”
“We can help” offers Erithan. “There’s sharp pointy helping, or there’s giving you a head start helping.”
Narrows looks at the two dwarves, the dragonborn leaning on his halberd, an elf, a drow and the wizard.
“So, about this head start then” he sighs. “There’s an abandoned house in the northwest corner of the Loudwater” and gives an
address. “Her lair is in the basement.”
So, tell who’s there… numbers, strengths… ”, presses Erithan. “Any secret knocks, passwords, that sort of complicated thing. Or do we just say narrows sent us?”
“10 thugs, an Elf archer and her Ladyship of course. Tricksy little bitch. Got a fancy throwing knife see likes. Likes shifting around in combat. You know, nimble like, hard to hit.”
Satisfied with this, they let Narrows make his escape out of town. It’s going to take a day or so to hammer together some plate for Radnelas, so they head for the abandoned house, as advised by Narrows.They find a trapdown leading to some stairs heading down to a long corridor ending next to a door. Radnelac and Bronale lead the way down the corridor, and straight into the pit trap. With a couple of inches of acid at the bottom. They stumble and try to claw their way out, and manage it with Thaath’s help.
It’s a twenty foot gap across to the other side, and Radnelac reckons he can make it. He’s 85% correct, as he just falls short, back into the pit. Thaath jumps across to try to help, but he also falls short, and into the acid.
Thaath pushes Radnelac up, and Radnelac helps drag Thaath up the slippery sides of the pit.
They fashion a taut rope across the pit, and the rest of the party manage to edge across.
They untie the rope, and face the door.
To be continued on Thursday….